Bay Selection Tops Valley 2-1 in First-Ever Showcase All-Star Game
The first-ever NorCal College Showcase All-Star Game took place Saturday night at Davis Legacy Soccer Complex with the Bay Area selection defeating their Central Valley counterparts via a 2-1 scoreline.
Playing under the lights on Legacy’s stadium field, the matchup produced both a festive environment and high standard of play as college coaches and other interested parties packed around the field to watch what was likely the first of a series of greatly-anticipated All-Star matches at NorCal’s bi-yearly showcase.
“The quality of the game exceeded the lofty expectations we had when we first discussed the idea of hosting an All-Star Game a few months ago,” said NorCal Premier Soccer NPL Commissioner Kelcey Chaidez. “Not only was the level of play impressive, but there was a real buzz around the field leading up to and during the game.
“All of the players were excited to represent their region and earn another opportunity to impress the college coaches on hand,” Chaidez added. “We’ve only received positive feedback from those coaches as well.”
Each roster included 13 of the best juniors and seniors in the state, which were chosen after a thorough recommendation process identified 52 players from 26 different clubs to participate in the match.
Junior Juan Sanchez of San Ramon FC made history for the Bay selection just 10 minutes into the game as he slotted a cool finish past the onrushing Valley goalkeeper to score the first goal NorCal College Showcase All-Star Game history.
From there, no one was able to hit the back of the net for the rest of the first half as the high school seniors replaced the juniors after the break.
As the match appeared headed for a 1-0 final score, Bay doubled their advantage late. Association Football Club’s Isaac Bandabalia found Atletico Santa Rosa’s Johnathan Zamora Galindo to give Bay a two-strike lead in the 74th minute.
The second goal only encouraged Valley to step up their efforts and just one minute later, they pulled one back when Sacramento United’s Anthony Barajas finished off a feed from Modesto Ajax United’s Elijah Reyneveld to make it 2-1.
That proved to be the final tally of the night but when the referee blew his whistle to end the match, those who took part in it had more than just a close Valley victory on their minds.
“I just feel happy, this is something I’ve worked for, just to be noticed, to accomplish things in this wonderful game of soccer,” said Valley junior Giovanni Brunolli of El Dorado Hills Soccer Club. “To be recognized as an All-Star is an honor.”
Added Bay senior and East Bay United player Bennett Bluey: “I think with the All-Star game, it’s a new, cool opportunity to play with some of the other guys who are all looking to play at the next level. It’s a huge opportunity for us.”
Those looking forward to NorCal’s next All-Star game won’t have to wait long as the same format will be replicated next Saturday during the Girls NorCal College Showcase in Davis.
For more information about the Showcase All-Star Game, click here.